Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Duff defends M-theory

Michael Duff introduced first supermembranes as generalizations of superstrings in the late 1980s. It perhaps deserves to mention that I had ended up with 3-surfaces as generalizations of strings towards end of 1977 and published my thesis 1982 - much before Duff. This of course does not matter in the records since I am a a pariah in the community.

Now Duff has written a defense of M-theory. Peter Woit does excellent job in criticizing the defense and I do not have much to add. The time of superstring theory is now over and it is quite understandable that the members of the collapsing hegemony express their frustration.

As a brahmin of science Michael Duff does not forget to mention that the pariah deserve their position in the community.

  • Lisi has got three pages and one can wonder how he relates to the defense of string theory: that Lisi's theory has been a media fashion for 15 minutes does not provide any support for super string theory.

  • The basic claim of the hegemony has been for all these years that there are no known competitors for the M-theory: it is the only game in the town. Duff formulates this claim as a rhetoric question

    It is really the case that there are brilliant loners out there and that there is some kind of conspiracy by the physics “establishment” to prevent their voices being heard?.

    The gist of the answer is easy to guess. If there had been some competing ideas deserving to be taken seriously, he would certainly have noticed them during these 40 years.

  • Duff does not forget to mention that viXra is needed: it demonstrates that crackpots are crackpots. It is of course important to ridicule viXra since for pariah's like me viXra is one of the very few communication channels.

  • Duff of course mentions homeopathy and UFOs. It is always a good trick to make this association when one speaks of competing approaches. In particular TGD: I have indeed proposed a model of water memory for which the discoveries by the research group led by HIV nobelist Montagnier gave a strong support (see this). It is also easy to find in web a concrete visual proof for water memory by a group of science professionals. But this does not of cause matter: "homeopathy" and "water memory" are really scaring words and any-one who might have been ready to consider even the possibility of water memory is next to witch!

There is no need to tell intelligent reader that all this is standard rhetoric made possible by the ethical decline in Big Science. How on earth Duff could know anything about alternative approaches to the unification? Like other string theorists he has lived a sheltered life of a superstring professor in practically compete isolation from the dirty empirical reality - or low energy phenomenology as they would express it. The results from LHC challenging the basic assumptions of both GUTs and string theory demonstrate how far from experimental reality these people in their ivory towers have receded. Could these fellows really have used their spare time in web searching for alternative unifications and studying them keenly? Just try to imagine these respected professors in the act of intensely studying papers of alternative thinkers!

To my opinion the best thing that could happen to super string community would be a dramatic reduction of the funding. To some degree this reduction has already taken place. Only those who really believe in string theory and have really something non-trivial to say would be ready to continue without funding.


Poeteye said...

-- James Ph.Kotsybar

The physicists in their studies transcribe
formulae that define reality.
Theirs is a cloistered yet secular tribe
that daily deals with strict duality.

their math must be made to agree,
precisely, with all that can be observed,
though, often,
what we are able to see can misinform;
they must not be unnerved.
To gain acceptance,
they are overseen by peers
and the harshly economic,
while pressured to find covenant between
the classical and the subatomic, and,
though they cannot see their superstring,
keep faith that it will answer everything.

Poeteye said...

-- James Ph. Kotsybar

Physicists are theorists so extreme
that they can get lost in speculation
and even lose track, or so it would seem,
of designated abbreviation.

They’ll say string theory has many parts
that are likely aspects of just one thing
they like to call “M,” but, with all their smarts,
when asked what it means, they start stammering.

“What does M stand for?” -- a simple query
that receives an obfuscating reply:
“Membrane, Mother or Master Theory.”
They really don’t know, and they don’ know why
nor grasp that they’ve lost their unified voice,
thus need to respond with multiple-choice.